Accessible Building: Universal Design | Ty Pennington
Design

Design | Accessible Building with Universal Design

Some of you have been asking about ways to make your home more accessible for people with disabilities. So today I wanted to address a very important trend in home building known as universal design.

Universal design is based on the concept that everyone – be they disabled, aging or a mom carrying a baby on her hip – can benefit from basic building features. The trend began with widening doorways and has grown to include some great accessibility ideas. Here are just a few examples:

  • Single-lever kitchen and bath faucets – so you can use one have to control the flow and temperature.
  • Wall ovens – eliminating the need to bend and potentially opening up more space in the kitchen.
  • Hand-surface flooring – easier for wheelchairs and walkers.
  • Stepless entries – simpler to access for those who cannot navigate steps.

When it comes to the home’s actually floor plan, a good rule of thumb is to include hallways that are at least 42 inches wide and doorways should ideally be 46 inches.

Accessible Building: Universal Design | Ty Pennington

If you can implement pocket doors instead of swinging ones, that’ll save the person in a wheelchair or using a crane a lot of unneeded hassle.

Accessible Building: Universal Design | Ty Pennington Accessible Building: Universal Design | Ty Pennington

Some of the less obvious ideas that make a difference include moving power outages up higher on the wall, D-shaped cabinet pulls, roll-in shower stalls and glare-free lighting.

Accessible Building: Universal Design | Ty Pennington Accessible Building: Universal Design | Ty Pennington Accessible Building: Universal Design | Ty Pennington

In the kitchen, pull-out shelves, varied cabinet heights and a side-by-side fridge will help those who are disabled to navigate the hardest room in the house.

Accessible Building: Universal Design | Ty Pennington Accessible Building: Universal Design | Ty Pennington

Even something as simples as including switchplates that contrast to wall color is helpful.

Other great resources:

 

Photo Source: http://www.houzz.com/

Ty Pennington

Ty Pennington is best known as the Emmy-award winning host of "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" and as the co-host of ABC Daytime's "The Revolution." He has been recognized as a home design expert, carpenter and leader in the field of volunteerism. TyPennington.com is a space to share his inspiration, design tips, daily musings and more. Ty can currently be seen on TLC's Trading Spaces.

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